4 Steps to Manage Dual Roles During an Evacuation

by | 22 Jan 2024

During an emergency, a school Leadership Team member may initially take on the role of the Chief Warden. However, as the situation progresses and emergency services become involved, that leader may be required to step back from this role to manage the incident more broadly, including making high-level decisions, liaising with external agencies, communicating with parents, and managing the media.


Here are 4 steps to navigate dual responsibilities during an evacuation:


1. Assign Roles Before the Emergency

Always have more than one person trained as a Chief Warden to ensure that if the primary Chief Warden needs to step away, there’s another individual ready to take charge immediately.

The emergency management plan should highlight all staff trained as chief wardens.


2. Ensure there is a Clear Hierarchy

Everyone should be clear on the hierarchy of command. All personnel should know who is next in line if the Leader steps away from the Chief Warden role. This hierarchy should be communicated and practised during drills as part of emergency management planning.


3. Communicate the Change in Roles

If the Leader needs to shift from the role of Chief Warden, they should immediately inform the next person in charge and provide a quick briefing to ensure continuity in leadership.

A quick announcement or signal to staff about the change in leadership will help maintain order and clarity.


4. Post-Incident Review

After the incident has been resolved, the Chief Warden, and other key staff should review the incident, discussing what went well and identifying areas for improvement.

The emergency management plan should be updated to reflect critical learnings and changes.


While the immediate safety of students and staff is the priority during an evacuation, the broader ramifications and management of an incident will often fall to the Leadership Team. Schools can effectively manage dual roles and transitions during an evacuation by preparing in advance, setting clear hierarchies, and ensuring smooth transitions of responsibilities as part of the emergency management plan.


If you would like to learn more about how Bounce Readiness can provide emergency management training and tailor a suitable evacuation plan, please get in touch.

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